When Casa Ramos closed in early 2009, La Casa Cuevas immediately opened in the same spot. Childress not being a main artery, and La Casa Cuevas not being part of a chain, the restaurant seems to be somewhat out of sight, out of mind to potential customers who come off I-5 or are staying at a nearby motel. Femme de Joie has visited several times and it was never more than half-full at lunchtime. That’s a shame, because the food is markedly better than before.
Customers are greeted and seated almost immediately upon entering La Casa Cuevas. Seating is in comfortable booths; there’s also a room that can be reserved for parties. In addition to the usual chips and salsa, a small dish of warm refried beans topped with cotija cheese is brought to the table. Both Tapatio and Cholula sauces are available.
The menu is quite lengthy, exhaustive, and colorful, but it isn’t organized well. It tends to fall into “Specialties” and “House Favorites” types of sections, rather than the usual “burritos,” “tacos,” “por los gringos” kind of sections. They probably have what you want, but it will take some searching on the menu to find it.
On M. de Joie’s first visit she rashly ordered a margarita, which was brought in one of those glasses about the size and weight of a halved bowling ball. It was a bit on the acidic side so if you like them sweeter, be sure to specify.
Two mahi-mahi tacos with rice and rancho beans
These fish tacos were covered in a sweet creamy tomato sauce, like 1000 island dressing without the pickles. It pretty much covered the delicate fish, but wasn’t so cloying that it was unpleasant. A small heap of tomato-lettuce-cilantro dice was available to garnish the tacos, which toned down the sauce and gave a fresh crunch contrast to the soft grilled fish. Rancho beans are simply pinto beans in their own broth. One or two were underdone, indicating these are house-made.
Chicken tortilla soup
A warming bowl of soup featured lots of crunchy tortilla strips, shredded chicken, diced avocados, and a little bit of cheese. The broth was some kind of canned or boxed broth with added puree of chile and a heavy sprinkle of dried herbs on top. This could be really delicious with a little more care in the making of the broth..
Burrito Dos Amigos, $12.50
Not two burritos, but one very large tortilla wrap cut in half, with one side filled with chile verde and the other with chile colorado, and a paper-thin scattering of cheese on top. A tiny deep-fried tortilla bowl filled with fresh pico de gallo was a nice touch. M. de Joie much preferred the chile verde with its tart, mellow sauce; while the chile colorado was beefy and filling with none of that acrid taste that red chile sauces sometimes have, it was also excessively salty.
Amico del SIgnore chose chicken tacos carbon. Not the pick-up-and-stuff-in-your-face type of tacos, these were very tender and easily cut with a fork. They had been cooked on the flattop but weren’t at all greasy and had ample cubed grilled chicken, light cheese, and diced tomato filling.
Though the mole owes a lot to a jar of Dona Maria, it was still nicely prepared, not too sweet, with a good balance of chile and chocolate tastes, and tender strips of chicken. Served with warm tortillas on the side, this made a not-too-heavy lunch.
Notice anything odd here? Yes, that’s right. There’s an enormous empty space in the center of the plate. This shrimp and cheese quesadilla on a whole-wheat tortilla – advertised as low-carb – while tasty enough, simply screams DIET PLATE. While Femme de Joie liked the quesadilla, she was somewhat distracted off by a tiny amount of food on a giant platter. Either put it on a smaller plate, or fill that space with something edible.
La Casa Cuevas has food worth making a trip to Anderson for. Service is very fast and friendly, portions generally are fair for the money, and the very extensive menu provides something for everyone. Does it reach that ever-elusive “authentic” standard? Probably not for some folks, but overall, you won’t be disappointed.
La Casa Cuevas, 2830 Childress Drive, Anderson, CA 96007. 530-378-2118. Open daily, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM. Cash, cards; no checks. Full bar. Parking lot on-site. Vegetarian and low-carb options. Catering; private dining room. Follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/La-Casa-Cuevas/399477242677
Femme de Joie’s first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at email@example.com.
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